Ch. 7 - Q34: My family or friends cannot agree about whether my loved one needs a guardian or conservator or who should be appointed. What should I do?

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Ch. 7 - Q34: My family or friends cannot agree about whether my loved one needs a guardian or conservator or who should be appointed. What should I do?

A34:    A judge will only appoint a guardian if it is the least restrictive way to meet the needs of the person to be protected.  It is best to work with your loved one’s support group to identify other options before you explore a guardianship for them.

You can also try to negotiate with the interested parties who would be the best choice to nominate be the guardian(s) or conservator(s) 

If you need help in reaching an agreement, Mediation may be helpful.  Mediation is a confidential process for resolving disagreements that is facilitated by a trained, neutral third-party mediator.  The process gives all parties a chance to be heard in a safe, comfortable environment where the family and others may decide a fair solution.  Mediation sessions can be voluntarily scheduled at convenient a time and can be held remotely. (see Q35)

If there is a disagreement as to the capacity of an individual to care for themselves, or the suitability of the individual nominated to serve as guardian or conservator, the hearing before a judge  allow the various parties to present information and arguments to the judge, so the judge will be able to make a decision. Intimate details concerning the lives of the ward and of the interested parties will likely surface in a public forum. These “contested” guardianship or conservatorship proceedings can negatively impact relationships and be emotionally taxing for everyone involved.

If a guardianship or conservatorship case is contested, the Court has the power to order all parties to mediation.  In that circumstance, all parties must participate.  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-2911(1)(d).